Q&A: Ask Alyson Haley
Well, the Florida summers can make shooting blog post photos a little difficult so, thanks to your suggestions, I decided to do a Q&A instead! I asked y’all to send in any and all questions and I have answered them below. If I didn’t answer your questions, it’s probably because I have a post coming up that will be focused on answering that question OR … you gave me an idea for an upcoming post so stay tuned if it’s not here! Otherwise, enjoy!
Giveaway winners might be at the bottom 😉
CAN YOU SHARE SOME OF YOUR TANNING TIPS?
I get spray tans every so often. When I do, I always take a shower before I go and exfoliate my skin really well. I tend to like to go on a day when I don’t have to get dressed for anything in particular. After I get the spray tan, I wait 5-6 before taking a shower then I apply Jergen’s Natural Glow Body Lotion to enhance it just a little bit. After a few days, I start applying St. Tropez Self Tanner. I absolutely LOVE this stuff. It’s the best color. It doesn’t look orange at all and it lasts quite some time if you are consistent with application every day.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TREATS, TOYS, BEDS, ETC. THAT FISH & CHIPS LOVE?
Fish and Chips both love THIS bed. They’re obsessed with THIS blanket and THIS blanket, as well. In regard to treats, I’m in the process of getting them more natural based treats because the ones I was buying gave them both really terrible diarrhea. I don’t want to share the brand of natural treats I’m getting yet because I don’t know if they’ll like them or if they’ll be good on their stomach but I will surely share when I know more about how they react to them. They were recommended by their dog sitter so I’m sure they will LOVE them but you never know! And toys … they’ll play with anything! Chips loves these BentoBalls that are indestructible … but, the treats that go in them were one of the ones that gave him the bad diarrhea! He would have to go so quickly .. he literally went on my carpet three times. It was terrible!
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT JUSTINE, YOUR ASSISTANT, AND WHAT SHE DOES FOR YOU & YOUR BUSINESS?
I’m so happy you asked! Justine and I were introduced through one of my photographer friends almost two years ago. My friend knew I was in desperate need of some help getting things done on the backend of the business. He had experience working with her and was extremely impressed by her professionalism and efficiency, so he suggested we set up a meeting to chat through what I needed and to get a feel for whether she’d be a good fit for it. After interviewing her, and sharing some of the tasks I needed help with, she seemed like the best fit for what I needed in someone and she seemed up for the job! So, essentially, Justine helps with anything that I could do but it doesn’t HAVE to be done by me like organizing the weekly newsletter, linking the products for an upcoming outfit post, uploading photos to WordPress from my photographers, researching flights for upcoming travel, researching what needs to be done in order to bring Fish with me to London, drafting proposals and contracts, running daily errands, helping me with Fish and Chips, organizing returns, unpacking deliveries, managing the @shopalysonhaley Instagram page, shipping out orders, sending invoices, downloading and renaming photos to promote SEO, uploading photos into WordPress for upcoming blog posts, helping me get ready for a photoshoot, taking photos for Instagram, and making sure I eat lunch on a busy day. She is also a huge reason why I’ve been able to travel as much as I have. She makes sure we book flights well enough in advance. She works to sustain amazing relationships with the partners we work with on our trips. She ensures that I fulfill all necessary requirements of those partnerships. She builds out my itinerary so I am organized and know exactly what to expect going in to all of my trips. Anything that comes my way that requires a lot of time and planning is normally on her plate as opposed to mine. I am really committed to being the sole writer of these blog posts that you read and, although they may take 5 minutes or less to read them, they take MUCH longer to write, plan for and organize. Reading all of this will probably leave you thinking ‘okay so then what do you do and I promise, we both have our plates full of work, ha! Everything I do [writing posts – which believe it or not can take up to 16 hours, i.e. travel guides – editing photos for Instagram, sorting through emails, keeping my email organized, responding to collaboration requests, keeping in touch with you, my readers, via email or DM, buying for the blog and upcoming projects, brainstorming ideas for upcoming travel and analyzing engagement across the blog and social media, trying on clothes from shipments and decided what works and what does, creating an interesting editorial calendar for you all based on your feedback, photoshoots, etc. etc.] takes a lot longer than people think so, Justine is literally a Godsend to me and an extension of me. She is an extremely kind, patient and smart human being and I appreciate her more than I could ever say.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO BUILD UP YOUR WARDROBE INTO SOMETHING YOU REALLY LIKE, ALONG WITH VERSATILE?
It’s important to remember that building a wardrobe takes time. Sales are a great time to stock up on basics for whatever season you’re currently in or the season that is upcoming, but it’s important to remember that investing in your wardrobe is an important step to creating a wardrobe you’re proud of, as well. Jeans, outerwear and boots are those pieces that will last you YEARS if you just put a little bit more toward those. Sticking with neutral colors is a way to increase the chance of having a versatile wardrobe and opting for colors that are easily incorporated into those neutral outfits like turquoise and red.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU WOULDN’T THINK TO PURCHASE FROM THE NSALE?
The sale is literally a gold mine and not just because of the discounts on rag & bone denim and Stuart Weitzman suede over-the-knee boots. Personally, I think their home decor selection is always stellar! Last year, I bought this chunky knit blanket and, literally, every time it’s laid out on the couch … Fish is like a magnet to it. He loves it! This year, I purchased these pillows and this faux marble tissue holder to be used in my living room space that I’m trying to finish.
Here are some other pieces that caught my eye that you may not have thought would be included in the sale:
WHAT SKIN PRODUCTS DO YOU USE?
WHAT CURLING WAND WERE YOU USING IN YOUR IG STORIES THE OTHER DAY?
My curling wand is linked in my Daily Hair Routine post from last year.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF FRIZZ WITH THE HUMIDITY IN FLORIDA?
If there is anything I’m on the hunt for right now, it’s a better frizz control product! If you have any suggestions, please send them my way! Right now, I use this Anti-Humidity Spray and this Smoothing Serum, but I’m always looking to try something different.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON GOOD BRAS OR UNDERWEAR FROM THE NORDSTROM SALE?
I always stock up on Hanky Panky’s during the sale and purchase one or two more of my favorite tank-tops to wear underneath my tops. I also peruse the bralette options, as I love to wear those under loose tanks in the top! I purchased this one in beige, black and mint color. My review on those will be included in Wednesdays post. Personally, the only bra I’ve purchased from Nordstrom is THIS one, and it IS included in the sale. It’s a great everyday, wireless bra with seamless design. Personally, I love it for no fuss days, especially for $19!
DO YOU EVER TAKE TRIPS BY YOURSELF AND KNOW NO ONE AT THE DESTINATION YOU ARE GOING TO?
I haven’t ever intentionally been on a trip by myself where I didn’t know anyone where I was going but, I’ll be honest … when I was in London, going through the breakup with Ben, I did kind of feel like I was on a trip like that. Whitney hadn’t come back to London from her travels yet so I was going through it all, with not a lot of familiarity around me. While there were some overwhelmingly emotional moments, I will say … it was one of the most eye-opening, rewarding experiences of my life … kind of picking up the pieces and figuring it all out and choosing to enjoy it all on my own, without the help of anyone else. So, needless to say, I’d be open to another trip like that!
HOW WOULD YOU STYLE THE SPANX LEATHER PANTS YOU TRIED ON IN THE DRESSING ROOM AT NORDSTROM THE OTHER DAY?
Definitely head back to the blog on Wednesday! I’ll be receiving all the items I purchased from the sale tomorrow and Tuesday, and will have a bunch of styled looks on the blog along with sizing details in a blog post so that you are prepped and ready to purchase your items on Thursday when the sale goes public to everyone! 🙂
WHERE IS YOUR WHITE TANK TOP AND PINK SPORTS BRA FROM THAT YOU WERE WEARING IN YESTERDAY’S IG STORIES?
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU GO INTO BLOGGER LIFE?
Before I was a blogger, I was a registered nurse on a progressive neurosurgical unit at a large medical center in Jacksonville. I was a nurse for about five years before retiring to run Sequins & Things full-time. I would consider going back in the future. I’ve kept my license up-to-date, however, I absolutely love running the blog and would rather continue to do this for as long as I can. I wrote a goodbye letter to Nursing HERE.
HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO MANAGE EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO? WORKING OUT, TRAVELING, SHOOTING, WRITING BLOG POSTS .. NOT TO MENTION WATCHING BLOODLINE. HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Honestly, if it looks like I have it all together – I am truly sorry. Ha! It definitely doesn’t always feel that way on my end. However, if I can attribute being able to accomplish all the things that I’ve been able to accomplish in the last year to any one person … it’s Justine. She is extremely organized, efficient, gets excited about checking things off of a to do list, is rational and level-headed and, really, had no huge interest in blogs prior to working with me (which I see as a HUGE plus). She and I identified that I need at least two full office days where all I do is sit and work on blog posts, especially now that the posts are more than just the classic outfit post – although, those are a major breathe of fresh air now that I’ve gotten in to doing extensive travel guides, let me tell you! Ha! Then, I typically shoot Instagram and blog post content on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays are for errands, appointments and calls. I always kind of look forward to those days.When you work for yourself, you are trying to get so many things done. Your mind is ALWAYS on and, more than that, it’s on so many things. It makes it hard to focus on any one thing because you want to get ALL tend of the things you’re thinking about to get done at the same time but it’s just not possible. So, having a more organized calendar and schedule has helped streamline my productivity … although I do still have to keep my tendency for distraction in check sometimes!
** Also … this is not set in stone. It probably should be but every week is different. For example, last week, the Nordstrom Sale started on a Thursday and clearly we weren’t going to be shooting blog looks or Instagram content that day because we were shopping the sale, taping it for IG stories and getting the page ready for y’all to utilize when the IG story when live. That took all day in addition to both of us getting up at 3:00 to tag-team getting the sale post up for you guys! So, being flexible is also key! Sometimes we just have to roll with the punches and change some things around in order to get what needs to get done, done! **
HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE ALL OF YOUR PERSONAL ‘STUFF’, PAPERWORK, BILLS, TAXES, ETC? WHAT DO YOU USE TO KEEP IT ALL TOGETHER?
I have two filing cabinets in my office. I use hanging and file folders to keep all of my personal, business, bank and tax files organized. Fish and Chips also have a file 😉 I also have an accountant who handles all of my bookkeeping as well as my personal and business taxes. She has her own way of keeping all of that organized, which I’m so thankful for because that’s less paperwork that I have to keep track of, file-wise.
DOES NORDSTROM TYPICALLY RESTOCK POPULAR ITEMS WHEN THE SALE GOES PUBLIC? DOES THE SALE GO LIVE TO THE PUBLIC AT MIDNIGHT ON THURSDAY?
Nordstrom will typically restock some of their more popular items that have sold out during the Early Access period, however, it does not restock EVERY item that sells out.
The website typically shuts down at midnight and then is re-opened around 2:00am / 3:00am EST.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE PRESSURE AROUND YOU TO SETTLE DOWN AND GET MARRIED? I’M FEELING IT HARD RIGHT NOW WITH MOST MY FRIENDS SETTLING DOWN AND NOT BEING THERE YET.
I wouldn’t say I feel any pressure to settle down and get married. I guess it’s because I’m not currently dating anyone so there is no one is pressuring me. What I feel, sometimes, is a little bit of loneliness and maybe a little bit of hopelessness as I’ve found it hard to find the right person here in Jacksonville. I want to share my life with someone. I want to know what it’s like to be pregnant. I want to be a mom to babies. I want to know what it’s like to be intoxicated by their smell, want to freeze time when they’re little and be amazed at how the human body could carry and give life to something so beautiful … that my body could do that. So, yeah … knowing all of those personal internal desires … does make it hard sometimes to see so many happy couples with beautiful babies on social media, especially when the couples are considerably younger than me. Knowing their children will be in Kindergarten or First Grade by the time that they are MY age … is a crazy thought! Ha! I could potentially be 40 by the time my children are at that age. However, I also have a firm belief that our lives unfold exactly the way they’re supposed to, that it all is the way it should be and that our happiness is a choice. That helps tremendously. I think it’s important to look at your life like it’s half-full even when you know that some of it is empty. No one has it all. So, embrace what you have. There are other people out there that probably wish they had what you have.
CAN YOU GIVE US SOME TIPS ON HOW TO TAKE A GOOD MIRROR SELFIE?
The light and position of your mirror has a lot to do with it, or at least helps them look better. I honestly don’t feel like any of the mirrors in my home are in a good position but, I think that’s where photo editing app’s help! The mirror selfies have natural light coming in on one or both sides.
Favorite photo editing app’s >> VSCO, Pic Tap Go, Snapseed
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO PUT NURSING ON HOLD? HOW DID YOU TRANSITION INTO FULL-TIME BLOGGING?
I retired in January of 2015 when I was earning more from blogging than my nursing position. I’m not sure that I ‘transitioned’ into full-time blogging. I was already running the blog full-time essentially. It was moreso a matter of transitioning out of nursing. I went part-time at the hospital when I started making about half of what I made at the hospital then, after about seven months, of working every day of the week … I knew I needed to make a change. I was exhausted and I had no life outside of work. I needed more of a balance so, although it was really scary, I knew it was time. I was making enough to support myself from the blog and hoped that with the more focused attention on it, that I could continue to see it grow. Thanks to all of you for helping make that a reality! Your support and readership mean the absolute world to me.
Thanks for stopping by today, y’all! xo.